Thank you to everyone who has written in to me about the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in recent weeks.
After going through its stages in the House of Lords, the Bill will be back in the House of Commons next week (Monday).
As you will be aware from my previous response, Labour has called on the UK Government to drop its poorly thought-out proposals and instead work constructively with us to improve the legislation. This offer has been ignored.
The Conservative UK Government is failing to keep our communities safe and secure as prosecutions have dropped and recorded violent crime has risen. Tackling crime and violence against women should be the focus of this Bill. I cannot and have not voted for a Bill that does nothing to reverse the UK Government’s failure to address this epidemic of violence and which imposes draconian restrictions on the right to protest.
On Monday 17th January, the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill returned to the House of Lords. Labour Peers put forward alternative, sensible measures that seek to address the inadequacies of the bill, including:
- Scrapping the power to impose conditions on protest marches judged to be ‘too noisy’.
- Protecting Parliament Square as a place to protest.
- Requiring police officers to tell the truth in public inquiries.
- Demanding an urgent review into the prevalence of drink-spiking offences.
- Protecting the public from dangerous or intimidatory protests such as protests on motorways that risk lives or anti vax intimidation outside schools.
- Making misogyny a hate crime by giving the courts the power to treat misogyny as an aggravating factor in any crime and increase sentences accordingly.
- Scraping the Vagrancy Act 1824, which makes it a crime to beg as well as sleep rough.
The Bill will return to the House of Commons next week. Following these votes, and the clear opposition to the Bill, the Government should now listen and think again. My Labour colleagues and I will continue to argue for a better approach.
Thank you again for everyone who has written to me to share concerns.